Academic journal article Journal of Marketing and Management

Industry Applications of Market Sensing Foreword to the Special Issue of Journal of Marketing and Management

Academic journal article Journal of Marketing and Management

Industry Applications of Market Sensing Foreword to the Special Issue of Journal of Marketing and Management

Article excerpt

We would like to welcome you to this special issue of the Journal of Marketing & Management. This issue is dedicated to the market sensing field and the selected papers present practitioners' perspectives on this seminal topic. The aim of this publication is to illuminate new methods and applications of market sensing. Traditional marketing and other market sensing concepts that worked some time ago may not be optimally effective today. Information options that were once on top of the metaphorical food chain, such as conducting phone surveys or mailing out fliers, are now becoming near-obsolete with the advent of new technologies that can gather data instantaneously with much less intrusiveness.

Market sensing can be considered an expression of a company's capabilities, defined as "complex bundles of skills and collective learning, exercised through organizational processes that ensure superior coordination of functional activities" (Mason, 2012). The four key market-sensing capabilities include: learning orientation, organizational systems, market information, and organizational communities. By a company's "framing" the market, key players including competitors, customers and industry analysts can be identified and analyzed. As frames become uncovered, new possibilities, market opportunities, or threats within the market are discovered and evaluated.

Market sensing is a process consisting of three key stages: sensing, sense making and reflecting. The sensing stage "involves a spirit of open-minded inquiry, analyzing rivals' actions, listening to front-line workers, seeking out latent needs, scanning the periphery of markets, and encouraging experimentation". Sense making is "understood as the clarifying, sorting and simplifying of market information into coherent patterns" (Mason, 2012, p. 406). Lastly, reflecting refers to the re-examination of the known mental models that explain and communicate the market.

Market-sensing includes all the activities that are involved in gathering market data or intelligence, disseminating the data throughout the organization and acting on the information gleaned. Market sensing is clearly an integral activity for successful firms. The value of market sensing information depends on relevance, comprehensiveness, accuracy and speed by which data can be accessed. Companies able to utilize "real-time" data have a competitive advantage over those whose data have a serious lag time.

Individuals in a department, functional area or a particular location of a company generate knowledge that may be used to guide decision making of individuals elsewhere in the firm. Traditionally reports, plans, written policy and procedures, as well as manuals may be used to disseminate information across the company. Knowledge Management Systems may be installed to link multiple disparate databases and provide decision support tools. Further, a company may make provisions to refresh, update, and assess the stored information. Facilitation of direct informal and formal communication of market information (e-mails, chats, conference calls) between the managers and other stakeholders is also essential.

Market sensing can help a firm define and redefine its product lines, monitor competitors and select target markets. Even if a firm continuously employs all types of market sensing activities, the organization must integrate the process, so as to play a supportive role. Otherwise, the activities cannot be carried out in a way that will generate profitable results and the market sensing activities will be a waste of resources.

The information that is gathered from market sensing can be used for a number of business undertakings such as product development, investing in a business, and any other activity that will increase revenue within the company. Market sensing aids an organization to get a clearer view of the market and eliminate false perceptions it may have about the needs of its customers. …

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